Relivin’ Indio

10.30.09 - Indio (G.Lucas)

If someone told me ten years ago that we would be reliving Phish shows in 3D movie theatres in 2010, I would have dismissed the idea a futuristic fantasy that belonged in Back to the Future II. But lo and behold, only a decade later, we find ourselves right here. Capitalizing on the newest fad in cinematic technology, Phish 3D, an audio collage of Festival 8 from Indio, California, is now showing in an exclusive one-week engagement around the nation. While fans have given mixed reviews of the feature length film, I felt the concert experience translated quite well to the big screen and beyond, providing a lasting memoir of an unforgettable weekend.

Indio Pollock

Split into three sections, nighttime Phish footage, the acoustic set, and the Halloween set, one obvious strength of Phish 3D is the film’s willingness to cover full songs from beginning to end, as opposed to the usual excerpts documentary-based features include. Without any narration, interviews, or external perspectives, Phish 3D allows the viewer to fully soak in the live concert experience. (I kept thinking that the film would be an excellent introduction to Phish for someone who has never seen the band and isn’t sure they could stomach a show.) Within a society catered to short attention spans, the extensive, uncut footage provided a relief from the modern era of sound bites and highlight reels. The ability to watch the band communicate and develop jams from such an intimate perspective provided a novel viewpoint for those not glued to the rail every show. Watching their eyes lock during the music and their seeing their expressions during peak moments provided a wholly divergent experience. Given the on-stage perspective of a fifth band member, one gained a virtual, first hand point-of-view of the band’s interpersonal dynamics and stage set up, things that  I, personally, never see during a show. Phish 3D allowed  most to view Indio from an 180-degree different perspective than the actual show, and the two together formed a complete experience. And with the crowd-perspective shots, it often felt like we were right on the plush fields again.

The track selection for the opening segment of the movie couldn’t have been better, featuring an opening run of “AC/DC Bag,” “Stealing Time,” “Undermind,” “Tweezer > Maze,” and “Mike’s,” all complete and uncut. “Tweezer > Maze” stood out as the highlight of this sequence, as it did at the show; and with the varying stage shots of the band slaughtering the jam provided a completely an all-encompassing visual experience. Trey’s passion translated vibrantly throughout the film, and especially during “Tweezer,” as his spirited playing matched his animated and fiery demeanor. Following the “Tweezer > Maze,” the movie didn’t slow down, choosing “Mike’s” as the final jam of the opening section. Any time I can go to the movies and see uncut 3D versions of “Tweezer” and “Mike’s” – it’s a win-win in my book!

The Acoustic Set (G. Lucas)

The second segment of the film featured brief non-stage footage, something the film could have used more of, before showing an extended excerpt from Sunday morning’s acoustic set. The clarity of the audio matched the clarity of the video in a pristine remembrance of a modern morning of lore. While this section may have incorporated one too many songs, the inclusion of “The Curtain (With)” made the entire segment worthwhile, bringing everyone back to the spiritual sunshine of November 1. The ability to see the crowd during the acoustic set really brought the festival to life, as theatre-goers tried to pick themselves out of the colorful ocean of people. This sequence painted a warm portrait of the acoustic set, providing unattainable perspectives of one of the most universally loved portions of Festival 8.

"Loving Cup" (Photo: Graham Lucas)

The final third of the movie covered Halloween, and Phish’s take on The Rolling Stones album, Exile On Main Street. While the footage of the selected songs provided some absolutely priceless moments, this is where the film would have hugely benefited from greater backstage access. Unable to get behind the scenes, less one practice session, the story of Phish’s Halloween tradition was implied but never explained, making the section somewhat confusing for the non-initiated movie-goer. The film only contained a small snippet of the on-site Exile rehearsals, a segment that certainly left the desire for more backstage footage, but for that we’d have to wait for the credits. Clearly a case of limited access, Phish should have foresaw this obstacle and allowed more leeway for the film crew to tell the story of the band’s Halloween tradition.

Trey and Saundra (Unknown)

Nonetheless, the shots of “Loving Cup” and “Shine A Light” provided powerful memoirs of an eloquent night in the polo fields of Indio, California. The up close and personal footage of “Loving Cup” provided priceless perspectives of the “all-time” version, while the inclusion of “Shine A Light,” the cathartic exclamation point to Exile, brought back the most poignant memory of the weekend. Phish and company knew they had nailed the album, and celebrated with its soul-drenched peak. The stellar shots of Saundra Williams and Sharon Jones gave us a much closer perspective of their own fun and enthusiasm, expressions that couldn’t be easily seen live; and they were loving it. After showing a short clip of the band and their guests rehearsing “Suzy Greenberg,” the Exile section concluded with its memorable encore rendition with full-on accompaniment. And just when one thought the marathon movie has come to a close, the film cut to the weekend-ending “Tweezer Reprise.” Perfect.

"Burble" (G.Lucas)

If one shot summed up the absolute exuberance of Festival 8, it had to be during “Suzy.” The camera filmed from behind Williams and Jones, looking out at the stage as the women danced and sang. Meanwhile, with his back to the crowd, Trey, sporting a child-like, aura-encompassing smile, watched Williams and Jones spice up his own concert as if it were part of his dream. And that same dreamlike quality that shone through the expression of our favorite front man embodied the collective spirit that characterized Indio’s blissed out festival; one of the most enjoyable events of Phish ’09.

On the other hand, many people have complained about song selection, camera work, editing, and the such. Really?? I have one question to these purveyors of negativity who complain that a Phish 3D movie wasn’t worthy of cinematic greatness – “Can you still have fun?”

Phish 3D Track listing: AC/DC Bag, Stealing Time From The Faulty Plan, Undermind, Tweezer, Maze, Mike’s, Back On The Train*, Strange Design*, The Curtain (With)*, Sleep Again*, Train Song*, Wilson*, Loving Cup, Happy, Shine A Light, Soul Survivor, Suzy Greenberg, Tweezer Reprise

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Jam of the Day:

Stash > Cities” 6.30.98 II

A highlight from the opening set of Summer ’98.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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DOWNLOAD OF THE DAY:

7.18.91 Casino Ballroom, Hampton Beach, NH < Torrent

7.18.91 Casino Ballroom, Hampton Beach, NH < Megaupload

A random stop with the Giant Country Horns during Summer ’91

I: Chalk Dust Torture, Foam, Runaway Jim, Guelah Papyrus, Suzy Greenberg, Stash, Take the ‘A’ Train, Cavern, Mike’s Song > I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove

II: Llama, Reba, Poor Heart, Split Open and Melt, The Lizards, The Landlady, I Didn’t Know, Possum

E: Alumni Blues > Letter to Jimmy Page > Alumni Blues

Notes: This show featured the Giant Country Horns. At one point during the show, the crowd was told by the promoter that they were dancing too much, prompting Trey to offer a date with Fishman to the fan who danced best on their chair!

Source: AKG 451 > D5

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541 Responses to “Relivin’ Indio”

  1. sumodie Says:

    I would hope word gets back to phish about how people felt about the film.

    Me too, except I feel the internet is full of a disproportionate amount of negative fandom and is therefore not a good way to judge overall Phish fan perspectives

  2. sumodie Says:

    Soul Survivor

    I’m guessing that this song was chosen as it gave Page a chance to shine (as Happy was selected for Jon)

    I suppose Mike’s was selected for Mike, though I still feel he didn’t get his proper due

  3. EL Duderino Says:

    While Mr. Miner’s words were eloquently written as usual, the whole “if you didn’t like it can you still have fun?” comment rubs me the wrong way. The movie was OK, not great, but OK. It’s not a Last Waltz, Stop Making Sense, or even Festival Express which are clearly better musical movies IMHO and as other BBer’s have stated. It is what it is… A Phish movie. Because someone wasn’t floored by this experience does not make them any less of a Phan and that wording in the last sentence portrays that sentiment. just my.02$

  4. lastwaltzer Says:

    @el dude, exactly. Just because someone doesn’t eat up everything phish gives them doesn’t mean they don’t like the band. If I remember correctly someone hyped Time Turns Elastic for months, even before Phish played it. When it wasn’t as good as hoped that person had no problem talking shit on the tune.

  5. albert walker Says:

    The cheapness in production is what makes these projects doable.

    It is another case of Phish making some $$ off something they don’t have creative influence on.

    Not saying this is right or wrong but it is. They don’t want to be bothered by all the bullshit involved in creating an extensive project so they just outsource everything and wait for some royalties.

    For me was this process worth my time on a Tuesday night
    I think so, I enjoyed myself

    I think Miner was commenting more on the haters not the people that enjoyed it.
    I think you at least had a good time last waltz.

    I think he is more commenting on the that fuckin sucked reactions

  6. lastwaltzer Says:

    “They don’t want to be bothered by all the bullshit involved in creating an extensive project so they just outsource everything and wait for some royalties.”AW

    sounds like the US government

  7. Dr. Pronoia Says:

    That blog that was linked to above about shows not selling out brought up some very interesting points that I’d be interested in hearing Miner’s take on.

    For instance, what effect on the overall scene, the vibe at shows, and the waxing and waning of great shows on tour does he think the aging of the fan base is going to have.

    I’m in exactly the demo that that guy was talking about. I’d love to see a run of shows a summer but work, family, and finances prevent that. When they do come around I’m more likely to want to catch a show with an old tour friend than with my wife, who has definitely moved on in the past 5 years. Will this lead to increasingly male crowd of older, nostalgiac fans?

  8. EL Duderino Says:

    I think that AW is right on the outsourcing theme. everything in this band is outsourced now, everything. A price to pay to keep them together and away from white powders. I can deal with it. They should have interviewed a couple of more film makes though.

  9. neemor Says:

    Good morning, all.
    Odd week, as the Times Square bomber lived in my town.
    Shelton, CT. The last bastion of Islamic Militants.
    Great.
    Interesting interview last night, Charlie Rose with Ahmadinejad (sp?) of Iran.
    Nutso, talked in circles, avoided questions, simply frustrating but a great interview nonetheless by Rose.
    Check it out if the oppt’y arises.

    Going to see the movie tomorrow, can’t wait now!

    Good stuff, Miner.

  10. lastwaltzer Says:

    Fair enough on the last part of your post AW.

  11. albert walker Says:

    Yeah

    Let the band breathe.
    Let em make some dough.

    And hopefully this positive environment leads to some great music this summer.
    That’s all that matters really.
    That’s what we are all here for anyway.

  12. Mr. Palmer Says:

    To people that saw the movie:

    Did the production come off cheap? Really?

    ElDude- the only real criticism i saw from you was that you shouldn’t travel any real distance to see it. I think that was great advice. I don’t think your included in the ” can you still have fun ” category. Shit, i wouldn’t travel 2 hours to see any movie, including Hot Tub Time Machine.

  13. Wilson8or Says:

    @BTB: Nice article. Makes me salivate since my only shows this summer are going to be Toyota park, blossom, and Alpine! Bring on the sleeper tour!

  14. albert walker Says:

    Not cheap generic

    I think it is most likely a template used for all there concerts they will be recording this year

    I though don’t think it distracts from the movie. It is entertaining concert footage IMO

  15. ma Says:

    miner nailed it perfectly.

    the VALUE in the movie comes from being in their faces before and during jams, something that i too don’t expreience becaue i choose not to ride the rail…

    enjoy the day!

  16. sumodie Says:

    Filming 3D ain’t cheap -I probably liked PH3D because I don’t really consider it a film -just some very cool & in depth concert footage. I’d never compare it to the concert films previously mentioned, and I don’t think PH or the production company intended PH3D to be likened to those (great!) films.

    I also doubt the band is getting rich off the film -it’s just something different to offer up to the fans (the real profit will likely come from the DVD set -box office receipts likely just covered costs/marketing if that).

    Lastly, the band obviously did not want to subject themselves to Q&A sessions/backstage banter in this film ala IT and Bittersweet (they learned their lessons in that regard). 2009 was all about making music, not talking about it. (I wish there had been a good in depth interview with any band member in 2009 -maybe in 2010!)

    ***
    All this Indio/Exile talk has convinced me I need to load a lossless version of Exile onto my pod in preparation of the day’s activities

    Otherwise I’ll never get the song “Just Want to See His Face” out of my head 8)

  17. Dr. Pronoia Says:

    That blog that was linked to above about shows not selling out brought up some very interesting points that I’d be interested in hearing Miner’s take on.

    For instance, what effect on the overall scene, the vibe at shows, and the w a x ing and waning of great shows on tour does he think the aging of the fan base is going to have.

    I’m in exactly the demo that that guy was talking about. I’d love to see a run of shows a summer but work, family, and finances prevent that. When they do come around I’m more likely to want to catch a show with an old tour friend than with my wife, who has definitely moved on in the past 5 years. Will this lead to increasingly male crowd of older, nostalgiac fans?

  18. neemor Says:

    “Watching their eyes lock during the music and their seeing their expressions during peak moments provided a wholly divergent experience.”

    ^ Why I love the rail.

  19. ma Says:

    ^yes…making music not taling about it

    fwiw, “just want to see his face > let it loose ” is as good as it gets.

  20. neemor Says:

    That was an interesting article:

    “I expect an all out throw down at Blossom Music Center, with Hershey topping off the tour opening trio with something special. ”

    ^ tits

  21. sumodie Says:

    Did the production come off cheap? Really?

    PH3D was constrained first and foremost by it being filmed in 3D. The choice to go with 3D had the greatest impact on the final film, IMO.

    For being a 3D production, yes, the film came off cheap (but that’s not a criticism fro me). It had to be cheap if we were ever going to see it in theaters.

  22. Mitch Says:

    Hey-ooo, I feel like a lurker lately (when I even get time to read; insert my boss hates Phish) but I just had to comment on that great burn miner laid down at the end. Can you still have fun? That should be the phrase of the summer to all the naysayers. Very clever mr m. Well played indeed. 

    That being said, if Purplehumpbackwhale or dr pronoia are out there or anyone else in NYC… Anyone wanna go see Phish 3D one more time before it’s gone?

  23. albert walker Says:

    GO SEE THE MOVIE

    Eat tons of ganja food before.
    You will love it.

    That is all
    Time to work for real now
    laterz

  24. Mitch Says:

    Tits indeed. I’m as stoked about btb fest as most other shows this summer. Woohoo blossom!

  25. sumodie Says:

    ^ How does one top the last word from AW? Mmm…I don’t 🙂

    Have a great day all!

    Peace out

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